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Search Engine Cloaking » SPAM – spamdexing story part 4

Sunday January 22, 2006 JST

SPAM – spamdexing story part 4

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Search engine spamming - spamdexing

This type of spamming tries to manipulate the search engines algorithm. As one of the seo element, webmasters will submit URL to the search engines for indexing. Then, basically search engine will send its bots/spider/crawler to crawl the website, read and collect the Meta keywords, description, title and contents. Found links will be followed and start a new information reading and collecting. The collected information will be indexed in their database to make it searchable. After the indexing is completed, the documents are ranked to determine their relevancy. In the hardware aspect, the search engine database is stored in thousand of servers (use clustering, load balancing and redundancy etc.) to ensure the user searching faster.

Well, the main purpose of the spamdexing is to increase the chance to be placed close to the beginning of search engine results, for example page 1 in 10 listing per page of the serp.

Search engines use a variety of algorithms to determine relevancy ranking. Some of these include determining whether the search term appears in the META keywords tag, others whether the search term appears in the body text of a web page. A variety of techniques are used to spamdex, including listing chosen keywords on a page in small-point font face the same colour as the page background (rendering it invisible to humans but not search engine web crawlers).

Search engine spammers are generally aware that the content that they promote is not very useful or relevant to the ordinary internet surfer. They try to use methods that will make the website appear above more relevant websites in the search engine listings. Unfortunately all known technique has been recognized by the search engine. If you got caught (else, it is business as usual), your site or in the worse case the domain will be penalized and de-indexed. Major search engines’ features information can be found here.

Known techniques

Hidden or invisible text

Masquerade the text that is keywords and phrases by: Making them the same colour as the background. Using a tiny font size or hiding them within the html code such as no frame sections. ALT attributes and no script sections or Using the HIDDEN html and CSS codes. Keep in mind that ALT used in image is valid.

This is useful to make a page appear to be much relevant and ranked better. The content may be relevant or not relevant at all. For the irrelevant keywords or phrases to the site’s theme or content, this technique will hide the keywords that already ranked at the top in the search engine serp. For relevant keywords, it is used to make the relevancy level higher. Obviously, this technique tries to serve the search engine crawlers.

Keyword stuffing/spamming

Repeated use of the targeted keywords or phrases to increase its frequency on a page. Early versions of indexing programs simply counted how often a keyword appeared, and used that count to determine the relevance levels. Modern search engines have the ability to analyze a page for keyword stuffing and determine whether the frequency is above a “normal” level.

Meta tags stuffing

Repeating keywords in the Meta tags such as keywords, description and title tags more than once and using keywords that are unrelated to the site’s content. The Meta tags also may be repeated many times.

Hidden links

Putting links where visitors will not see them in order to increase link popularity.

Gateway or doorway pages

Creating low-quality web pages that contain very little content but stuffed with key words and phrases. They are designed to rank highly within the search results. For example, a doorway page will generally have “click here to enter” in the middle of it.

Link spamming

Link spam takes advantage of Google’s PageRank algorithm, which gives a higher ranking to a website the having more, relevant and from high page rank site, an inbound links. A spammer may create multiple web sites/pages at different domain names and IP blocks that all link to each other or just point to one targeted site. Another technique is to take advantage of web applications such as weblogs comments or spam blog (spblog), forums and wikis that display hyperlinks submitted by anonymous, posters or editors. The following is an example of guestbook spam. All the links point back to the poster’s site. Imagine that if the poster do this in hundreds guestbooks…and all indexed in the search engines…Link farms are another technique used by creating pages just for link listings at different sites and most of the links point to the similar targeted site, creating a lot of inbound links. The classic method is using the guest book to put link that point back to his/her site. For the wikis, the editor put links that point back to his/her sites. It is much useful if the inbound links come from the sites having high page rank. The following is an example of the blog’s comment spam. If you browse web blogs at blogger.com, there are a many blogs with keywords stuffing and link farm.

With links and anchor texts/keywords, recent ‘technique’ found called Google bombing. For example, if you search miserable failure on Google, it brings up the official George W. Bush biography from the US White House web site. In term of usefulness, the phrases are not relevant to the site. Google have the explanation on this. Another one is Googlewash, where a small group of webloggers can quickly redefine terms in the eyes of search engine (Google) and ranked high in the serp.

Page redirects

Taking the user to another page without his or her intervention such as using JavaScript, META refresh tags, CGI scripts or server side techniques. This technique can be used to increase the site’s hit.


Sending to a search engine a version of a web page different from what web surfers see. There are more techniques for cloaking.Mirror websitesHosting of multiple websites all with the same content but using different URL’s. Some search engines give higher rank to results where the keyword searched for appears in the URL.

Code swapping

Optimizing a page for top ranking by using legitimate or illegitimate methods, once a top ranking is achieved, then swapping another page in its place.

Referrer log spamming

When someone accesses a web page, that is the referee, by following a link from another web page, that is the referrer, the referee is given the address of the referrer by the person’s internet browser. Some websites have a referrer log which shows which pages link to that site. By having a robot randomly access many sites a sufficient amount of time, with a message or specific address given as the referrer, that message or internet address then appears in the referrer log of those sites that have referrer logs. Since some search engines base the importance of sites by the number of different sites linking to them, referrer log spam may be used to increase the search engine rankings of the spammer’s sites, by getting the referrer logs of many sites to link to them. Check your site stats for visitors, try finding any url that doesn’t relate to your site/page’s content and believe me if any, you tend to click the link .

Tag spamming

This technique uses the weblogs feature of tagging where pages/posts from the same or different site tagged with the same word whether the posts are relevant or not, to constantly dominate the search rank. It looks that in technorati for example, this should be self correcting except those posts kept refreshed or re submitted. Also can happen in social bookmarking such as del.icio.us.

It seems that spamdexing techniques quite close to legitimate search engine optimization (seo) techniques, which do not involve trickery. Other than aiming to better the site’s ranking and site popularity spamdexing also will boost the site’s traffic.


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